WWE Peer Mentoring Group Guidelines

Welcome to Peer Mentoring

You are joining one of WWE’s first peer mentoring groups.  We know you have not made this decision lightly; you are making a one-year commitment to your group, and with that commitment you will gain insights, make decisions, help others, build trust, and strengthen your business. A peer mentoring group is unique; it is not group coaching and it is not a networking and referral group.  While you may share leads and resources with each other, the main focus is brainstorming and support.

Objectives

The purpose of WWE peer mentoring groups is to be a sounding board for entrepreneurs so that they can achieve success in their professional lives. “Success” is defined individually; no two people will have the same definition of success.

Here are some group objectives to consider:

  • Create a bond with other like-minded women
  • Share goals, success stories and obstacles to moving forward
  • Offer support and encouragement
  • Help each other with common and specific goals
  • Create an environment to test new business strategies
  • Share ideas in a creative and confidential environment
  • Hold each other accountable for set goals
  • Offer knowledge and advice, as well as perspective
  • Share resources, books, tapes, websites, vendors, articles, etc.
  • Brainstorm the pros and cons of possible business solutions
  • Share best practices
  • Support mutual growth of mind and spirit in an atmosphere of trust and harmony

The First Meeting

Peer mentoring groups exist for the mutual benefit of their members. As such, there is not a “one size fits all” way to hold meetings. Each group will decide what will work best to maximize time and benefit to its members. The decisions that should be made at the first meeting include:

  • Meeting location – members’ homes, a library, or other public meeting place
  • Length of meetings – usually two hours, but may be longer, as needed
  • Frequency – monthly, twice a month, weekly
  • One facilitator, or rotating responsibility (the facilitator is the timekeeper and keeps the meeting on task, and on schedule)

Meeting Format

Each meeting will have a facilitator. This can be a rotating role within the group or the group may decide to select someone to perform this task at every meeting. In any case, the facilitator will also be a full participant. Here is a suggested meeting format. Groups may choose to revise it or create their own.

  • Begin with a few minutes of meet-and-greet, and casual conversation.
  • Each member shares a short “success story.” (Remember: “success” is defined individually. One person’s success might be “I cleaned up my desk” and another’s might be “I landed a $50,000 contract.”
  • Review goals set at previous meeting.
  • HOT SEAT – Each person gets 15 minutes to brainstorm a specific challenge they are facing, a decision they need to make, or an idea they want feedback on.
  • Share resources, motivational quotes, etc.
  • Set individual goals to be completed before the next meeting.
  • Review date, time, and location of next meeting.  Close.

Group Etiquette

Peer mentoring groups create a positive energy that allows each member to achieve more than they could alone. But you are still responsible for your own success. Listen to your intuition and remember, in the end, you must make the final decisions and live with your choices.

 Commitment:

  • You must participate in all meetings. They are the foundation of the group.
  • We understand that people need to get away. If you will be unable to attend a meeting, send a message to the group to let them know. However, if you are absent for two consecutive meetings without prior group approval, you will be automatically deleted from the group and will not be allowed in a group again.
  • Give as much as you receive.
  • State your goals as clearly as possible with a definite deadline attached to each goal. If your goal is large and far ranging, also state intermediate “milestone” goals and the deadline for those smaller goals. This will help the group to understand what you are hoping to achieve, as well as help the group to hold you accountable to your goals and deadlines. Remember, a goal without a deadline is a dream!

Authenticity:

  • Inquire from a genuine desire to know and understand the other person. Inquire from a place where the other person’s answers can help her to gain clarity and insight into her own situation.
  • Listen fully, with the intent to truly hear.
  • Speak your truth, from your heart, without attempting to make someone else wrong.

Respect and Harmony:

  • Avoid discussing controversial subjects such as politics, religion and any other subject that is sensitive. Never introduce a subject that will weaken the cordial and cooperative spirit of the group.
  • To maintain trust and confidence between group members, all discussions must be treated as confidential.
  • Avoid arguing over points of view: respect that different people see things in different ways.
  • Avoid attempting to change someone else’s point of view.
  • Never put down other members.

Thoughtfulness:

  • Be on time.  Meetings that start late reward the latecomers.  Meetings that start on time reward those who arrive on time.
  • Speak only when moved to speak. Take time to reflect before speaking; avoid knee jerk reactions.

Openness:

  • Suspend assumptions. It is sometimes the person who knows the least about your industry who can give you the best insights because they come to the idea fresh, without preconceived ideas of how things “should” be.

Collective thinking:

  • Members of a peer mentoring group must leave their ego at the door. Those who are unwilling to relinquish power will not last long.
  • Problems can occur when some members have unrealistic expectations of the group or do not grasp the concept of collective thinking. Some members may expect the group to solve all their business or personal problems or they may wish to use the group as a therapy session.
  • Groups who have self-centered or dominant members may self-destruct if the group allows that behavior to continue. Individual members like this can undermine the true purpose of the group’s formation. A member who tries to take over the group or use it inappropriately will be warned and eventually voted out of the group because that person throws off the group’s balance.
  • Conversely, members who do not participate and do not ask for help also throw off the balance of the group.

General:

  • No socializing while the group is in session.
  • No cell phones or other electronic media.
  • No interruptions.
  • No “hogging” of time.
  • When someone is in the “Hot Seat,” listen quietly and with respect. No side conversations or comments.
  • Peer mentoring is not the time to complain about life; it is time to work toward creating the life you want.
  • Be willing to gently confront members when they are not seeing the big picture, living up to their dreams, or when they are justifying their lack of action or poor decision making.

Help

The WWE Mentoring Subcommittee has additional resources available for groups who want guidance or suggestions. If any individual has a concern that they don’t feel they can resolve on their own, or within their group, they are strongly encouraged to contact a member of the Mentoring Subcommittee to discuss it.

We understand that successful groups require hard work and flexibility. It is our hope that these groups will reflect the best of WWE: empowering women entrepreneurs through inspiration, support and collaboration.

WWE Mentoring Subcommittee

Ellen Utter
Deb Klein
Mary Crawford
Kim Stanfill-McMillan

 

May 2017

Note: Much of the content of these guidelines was adapted from a booklet called How To Start A For-Profit Mastermind Group, by Karyn Greenstreet.

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Contact us at contact@wwesouthcentral.org
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